Action cameras are unlike any other kind of camera. They’re designed to be attached to helmets, surfboards, cars and other objects, and they’re small, tough and simple to operate, with a lens that captures the world in high-definition video and in a wide-angle fish-eye perspective.
GoPro is the market leader with its iconic box-shaped Hero cameras, but action cams also come in a ‘bullet’ style, like the iON Air Pro. There’s lots of choice now, and you shouldn’t just buy on brand – think about what you want from an action camera and how you plan to use it.
Weight: 190g | Waterproof: Splashproof, with lens swap | 4K video: 15fps | 1080: up to 60fps | 720: up to 120fps | Stills resolution: 16MP | Battery life:3hrs
Bullet shape cams might have fallen out of fashion recently thanks to GoPro and its box-shaped cameras, but the TomTom Bandit bucks the trend. In fact, the Bandit packs features that other manufacturers will need to follow if they’re to keep up with this newcomer. Taking years of GPS experience, TomTom has built in a series of sensors that not only record location but speed and G-force too, so that when these sensors pick up that something exciting has happened they automatically tag the footage. Back in the pub and with the app open and connected, a quick shake of your phone and the app will automatically edit your footage ready for upload. It really couldn’t be easier.
GoPro Hero4 Black
Weight: 89g (152g with housing) | Waterproof: 40m (case included) | 4K video:30/25/24fps | 1080: up to 120fps | 720: up to 240fps | Stills resolution: 12MP | Battery life: 1-2hrs est
We really rate the TomTom Bandit, but the GoPro Hero4 Black is a close second. It’s the company’s flagship model, featuring a wealth of video options and accessories that help to ensure the model and brand’s popularity. These options include 4K video or slow motion full HD video at 120 frames per second, alongside a range of 1080p full HD frame rates. This makes it a great choice for professional videographers as well as home users who want flexibility over the video quality and resolution settings. If however you just want a camera that captures the action then the the GoPro Hero4 Black may just be overkill.
Weight: 180g | Waterproof: 30m | 4K video: 30fps | 1080: up to 60fps | 720: up to 240fps | Stills resolution: 7.2MP | Battery life: 3hrs
The TG-Tracker’s futuristic design is hard to miss with an ultra wide 204 degree lens fronting a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor. Headline video resolutions include 4k at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps and an impressive 240fps at 720p for slow motion capture. This is an action camera ready for anything and even features a small LED video light built in. Sensors are the big news for the Tracker with GPS, compass, acceleration sensors plus a barometer and thermometer all capturing data from inside the compact case. The intel from these can all be displayed when viewing back the footage or in the video edit so you can show just how extreme you are. What’s more, it’s waterproof to 30m, features built in stabilization and can withstand temperatures down to -10C.
Weight: 75g (150g with housing) | Waterproof: 30m (case included) | 4K video:24fps | 1080: up to 60fps | 720: up to 120fps | Stills resolution: 16MP | Battery life: 1-2hrs
The Olfi action camera has landed and at over half the price of the GoPro Hero4 Black it’s set to be a serious rival. Originating from Wales the Olfi sets it self apart from most other action cameras, with a solid feel both in and out of its housing. The team behind Olfi are passionate about action cameras and have created the Olfi to reflect what they wanted from a camera of this type at a decent price. The Olfi offers plenty of video options, from 4K to 720p at an impressive 120fps – ideal for capturing the action in slow motion. Add in Wi-Fi, stabilisation and HDR options, and at this price the Olfi is the ultimate all-rounder
Garmin Virb XE
Weight: 152g | Waterproof: 50m | 4K video: No | 1080: up to 60fps | 720: up to 120fps | Stills resolution: 12Mp | Battery life: 2hrs
The original Garmin Virb introduced motion sensors and GPS tracking to action cameras, adding an extra element to capturing the action, like the TomTom Bandit. Building on the solid foundation of the original Virb, Garmin has revisited the design, losing the bullet shape and remodeling the camera around the popular ‘box’ style. This new shape makes chest mounting far easier and, as with the original, the build quality is excellent. The XE offers increased video quality, it’s waterproof without an additional case, features Wi-Fi along with compatible app and software, this all makes the Virb XE one of the best action cameras at present.